Yet another nail has been hammered into the lid of the coffin containing what was supposed to be a Ben Affleck-driven take on the Caped Crusader. Originally, Affleck was supposed to write (with Geoff Johns), direct and star in The Batman, but Affleck gave up directing duties at the start of the year to focus on his portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman because he felt that he couldn’t “do both jobs to the level they require.”
Shortly thereafter, Chris Terrio (Argo) was brought in to rewrite the Affleck-Johns script, but then the hiring of director Matt Reeves, who is also a screenwriter, brought into question whether he would also be rewriting the script or going for a page-one rewrite. That question has finally been answered by none other than Reeves himself, who told MTV that he won’t be using the Affleck script at all, that the writing process is “just starting again” and that “it’s a new story.”
In an excellent interview with UpRoxx, Reeves explained that he only took The Batman because he felt that his vision for the hero would remain intact throughout the creative process:
When I come in [to a pitch meeting], what I say is, ‘Look. First of all, you’re asking me if I’m interested in this franchise. I am. I love this franchise. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. But here’s the way in which I’m interested in it. And if you’re not interested in it in that way, then that’s totally fine.’ And the good news was, they said, ‘Yeah, we’re really interested in that way.’ … And I have to say that they always backed down when it came down to that. And it’s kind of the way that I’ve always done it. And here’s the thing: I’m always happy not to do something. I’m usually looking for the reason to say no.
This seems like the right way to go, as too many writers can make for a muddled story. However, we have to wonder if this could also mean that Affleck might be bowing out as Batman/Bruce Wayne whether because he is tired of having his contributions to the movie being diminished or because Reeves wants a younger or different actor in the cowl. We also feel a little bummed that a new Reeves script could mean that we’ll never get to see Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke.
Various unconfirmed reports have the release date of The Batman pushed back from a 2018 release to a 2019 release, which makes sense given that the script is still being written.